Today Samsung revealed what they claim are the first flash memory chips based on the eMMC 5.1 standard which was just approved by JEDEC, the group that oversees the development of many semiconductor industry standards. eMMC is an embedded version of the MultiMediaCard standard that was once popular among digital cameras and PDAs. It allows for the NAND and controller in a device to be put into a small package on the logic board, which is a necessity when working with small mobile devices. Essentially every smartphone and tablet on the market today uses the eMMC standard as its storage solution.

As mobile devices have become more complex. there has been a need for improved NAND performance. Streaming and recording higher resolution content requires faster speeds for reading and writing, and so the evolution of the eMMC standard has been accompanied by improvements in performance at each step. When Samsung introduced their first eMMC 5.0 flash memory in 2013, their 64GB chips were rated for maximum sequential reads and writes of 250MB/s and 90MB/s respectively. Samsung's eMMC 5.1 memory increases the maximum write performance to 125MB/s. Similarly, random read performance increases from 7,000 IOPS to 11,000 IOPS and random write performance increases from 7,000 IOPS to 13,000 IOPS.

eMMC 5.1 based memory also has new features that will enable further improved performance. The feature that Samsung is specifically making note of is command queuing. True to its name, command queuing provides an interface for queuing up commands to be executed. This has been a feature of storage solutions in the PC world for some time, but previous eMMC controller implementations would submit commands and wait for completion before sending the next command.

Source: Samsung Semiconductor

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  • Lolimaster - Tuesday, February 17, 2015 - link

    Not even the 850 pro with around 80K IOPS reaches 40MB/s in random 4K reads.
  • LukaP - Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - link

    80K IOPS at 4K equals 312.5MB/s in bandwith. Its a simple equation really. Bandwith (MB/s) = IOPS*Packet size(4K)/1024. So your claim is wrong. Do research.

    And since this can (on average) do 10K IOPS at 4K that means the bandwith then is 10000*4/1024= 39MB/s
  • jjj - Tuesday, February 17, 2015 - link

    Too lazy to look it up , no idea if OS support is needed for whatever is called command queuing here and how smart it actually is.
    I do wonder how much slower the smaller capacity ones are, Samsung is specific about the 64GB version reaching those speeds and that makes it pretty clear that 32GB and 16GB are slower. Few pay an extra 100-200$ for 64GB so the speeds for the smaller ones are far more relevant.
  • - Tuesday, March 3, 2015 - link

    Isnt the embedded micro controler hardware based, making command queuing os irrevelant?
  • tygrus - Tuesday, February 17, 2015 - link

    Samsung phones have suffered slightly from slow (and small) FLASH storage. It's not only the FLASH fault but also the attached controller and interface. The updated 5.1 specs are nice but they should be looking at doubling the numbers not just 30% here and there.
  • mkozakewich - Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - link

    You're talking about something the size of a microSD. 5.1 *is* the interface, and the controller is embedded in the same chip. Overall, there's a lot going on. Frankly, the fact that these things are performing better than SSDs from 2009 means a lot.
  • cygnus1 - Tuesday, February 17, 2015 - link

    There are important uses for more storage performance that have nothing to do with moving data on and off the phone through a USB port: keeping up with a decent 802.11ac connection for downloading music or video or other files; and being able to record from onboard cameras and other sensors faster allows for higher resolution, frame rates, etc
  • Wolfpup - Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - link

    Thanks for explaining what "eMMC" means...I've heard the term repeatedly, knew it basically meant "not a real SSD, has worse performance", but didn't realize it was "Embedded MultiMedia Card". Makes sense!

    What's weird, I suppose, is that some of today's eMMC storage seems to perform better than bad SSDs used to!

    I wonder about wear leveling and the like, how eMMC compares with real SSDs...
  • djvita - Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - link

    what about UFS-2? its even faster

    this should be on the S6. i think this is the year to upgrade my razr hd, even though the A72 is coming in christmas.
  • semo - Thursday, February 19, 2015 - link

    Yep, UFS is what you want in your phone. SoC features have been getting a disproportionate coverage in reviews and marketing when IO is as important, if not more important than CPU performance when it comes to responsiveness of the UI.

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